Archive for the “Hunter” Category

Last night, hold onto your bacon folks, last night Beartrap ran… a heroic instance!

Crazy, cats, simply craaaazy.

My first heroic instance since the expansion shipped!

Well, the first one I did where the group finished the run, and my first attempt to join one in over four months, so it still qualifies. I think.

What made me do something that out of character?

Why, having friends to play with, of course!

Beartrap the mighty hunter ventured forth, set to wage war in partnership with Hedwig and Matheo, because… well, because they felt like doing a heroic and asked me along.

What, you expected something more? Sorry, they wanted to play and I think I’m finally heroic ready, so I went with ‘em.

Picture this, if you will. Beartrap the Beastmaster Hunter enters the random queue for a heroic with Matheo the Bear Tank and Hedwig the Healing Priest.

*I* get to follow along and watch a Bear Tank lead through a heroic. A heroic where two other players, NOT the tank or healer, are pugged in.

This has all the possibilities needed for postworthy drama, don’t it?

Where we ended up was Vortex Pinnacle.

I’d like to say that if other instances are anything like Vortex Pinnacle, I am going to have myself a mighty fun time in WoW from now on.

Vortex Pinnacle, under the talented paws of Matheo and with good healing from Hedwig, called to mind all the best memories I have of running heroic instances from both Burning Crusade AND Wrath of the Lich King.

Bold words, I know, but lemme explain.

When I think of Burning Crusade heroic instances at level, what memories do I call forth?

One thing that I loved was that the intelligent use of crowd control was not just an option, but an understood necessity. Not just that CC was needed, but that the group walked in KNOWING that it would be needed, and worked together accordingly.

I liked that because I felt more involved as part of the team when I went as DPS, that I had to be prepared to bring the Ice Trap skillz.

Likewise on having things that needed to be removed, such as curses. Having Static Cling on the final boss fight in Vortex Pinnacle, and needing it to be cleansed off so I could move again made me VERY aware of how much we needed Hedwig in the fight, and not just as a healbot.

I liked that feeling in Vortex Pinnacle. We had mobs marked for traps, I was given the go ahead to trap ‘em, and boy howdy did I! We also had a tank that used Skulls and Xes and Squares to mark mobs, and I always love seeing that in a run.

Another thing I liked was the architecture provided plenty of opportunity for line of sight pulls, and they were taken advantage of. That was great fun as well.

There was tension, there were mobs off the aggro table running around as a free for all, there were interesting boss fights, it had it all.

But what it also had was the shortness of Wrath of the Lich King heroic instances.

Even with the CC and mechanics, and the hopping from tornado to tornado, it only took a half hour to complete the instance.

I loved how short Wrath of the Lich King instances were, but I felt that they achieved that by being straight line runs from group to group with little in the way of tactical variety. Charge in, AoE, burn fast, next group, rinse and repeat. The uber-heroics in ICC were an improvement, but groups had been trained out of how to play by that point. Why look, the unfun!

What we had last night had the complexity and teamwork requirements of Burning Crusade, the interesting variety and lessons learned from both expansions, and the quickness of Wrath of the Lich King.

There was just one more element that was needed for me to feel rejuvenated and eager to begin playing group content again, and I got it;

An entertaining conversation with friends over Ventrilo.

Nothing is more fun to me than chatting with friends about the fights AS you are doing them.

Where else do you get the opportunity for such awesomeness as saying, “Wow Mat, you almost bit it on that pull”, and having Hedwig reply, “Oh, I wasn’t really paying attention on healing him.”

When you’re having such a good time chatting that you forget how to play, you know you’re doing it right.

I know that the heroic instances have a reputation for being incredibly long, so I’m not assuming that a sample size of one represents anything.

Vortex Pinnacle may have been great, but heroic Deadmines, Shadowfang Keep or Zul’Aman may be three hour slugfests for all I know.

But that’s all right. What I know is, I had a lot of fun in a group last night, and I didn’t expect to see that happen again. Even if the other heroics suck in comparison, if the fun in group is there, if the great conversation with friends is there… why, we’ll have fun despite it all.

Oh yeah, and tank aggro with the changes to Swipe? Much, much smoother response time on grabbing large groups. Matheo reported enjoying life a lot more than before as a tank. 

Geez, if I keep having friends to play with, the next thing you know I’m going to transfer my Druid over and start tanking for groups again!

Of course, if I did that, then I’d have to start developing gear lists, and I’d have to work out the math on stat priorities…. on second thought, maybe I’d be better off taking a hammer to my hard drive now and just going fishing.

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Playing a Beastmaster Hunter is so much fun when you’re leveling.

Along with the normal joys of picking what you want your companion to look like, naming him or her, and getting to choose what buff you’d like to run with, you get to keep your eyes peeled for those ‘gotta catch em all’ rares to tame.

You long time PvP enthusiasts also know the joys of having so many control options you can easily lose track.

Of all the times that I’ve played a Hunter, I know I’ve never really scratched the surface.

I’ve never gone into PvP with a carefuly planned out spec or pet, or practised all those situational player control and escape techniques.

I’ve also never really tried to build a spec and use a pet as a tank for content that was specifically designed with tanks in mind.

Molten Core is on my mind lately. I have soloed it with my Fury Warrior, but my Hunter is climbing the levels. Can I solo it with her as well?

Can I solo it even easier?

I decided to begin working on answering that tanking question for myself. I’m sure other people can do it; other people can solo two Cataclysm raid bosses. Other people have crazy mad skills.

I’m not other people, I want to know if I can do it.

It turns out I’m in a wonderful place to begin.

I’m in Dragonblight.

For those fortunates among you that don’t know what Dragonblight is like from playing characters through there 10 times, Dragonblight is a zone in Northrend for characters around levels 73-75, and it is famous for having a lot of “Gather a group of friends and go kill wandering boss X” style quests.

Just off the top of my head, there are these group kill quests;

  • An emerald bird boss (that I wish I could tame)
  • A Wolvar Shaman you have to knock off surrounded by some friends that come when you call.
  • A Scarlet Crusade General in a cathedral of worshippers
  • Another Scarlet Crusade Captain (or some such) standing at the top of a lonely watchtower still under construction.
  • A massive behemoth named Kreug Oathbreaker that wanders around in the middle of undead territory and LOVES to fear attackers.
  • An entire chain of Magnataur wandering bosses to take down, 5 in all if I remember right, maybe 6.

 I think there are others in the zone as well, I’m just kinda blanking right now.

That’s a real great zone to start thinking about having your pet tank this stuff for you. I mean, really tank it.

What I did was set a baseline. I took my kitty pet, Munchkin, and went after the emerald bird boss. I remember that one as a particular bitch to solo without heals.

Birdbrain has over 100,000 health, and although we gave it a good run, I couldn’t keep the pet alive and get the birt below 25,000 health on my first try.

Remember, the goal wasn’t to keep trying in a myriad of ways to do it; the goal was to set a baseline. “Here’s where I am with a kitty pet.”

I then went to Petopia to browse unfamiliar territory; the Tenacity Pets category.

My first instinct, of course, is to have a Bear. I’ve run with Bear pets before, they’re lots of fun. Not since the new patch revamp, though.

What I looked for were the pet skills. If I was going with a pet for tanking of group content, I wanted skills that would aid the pets survivability or mitigation, not do more damage. It’s MY job to control my aggro and stay under the pet. The pet has to live for me to win.

Perusing the list of pet skills, I was struck by how, of all of the Tenacity pets, only Beetles, Turtles and Bears had an actual damage mitigation or avoidance skill. Bears have Demoralyzing Roar to reduce enemy damage output by 10% for 15 seconds (with a 10 second cooldown, effectively up all the time), while Beetles and Turtles have a 50% damage reduction lasting 12 seconds, with a 42 second cooldown (in BM spec).

Decisions. A Bear with an always-on 10% damage reduction, or a Beetle or Turtle with a 50% reduction for burst use?

I decided to come out of my shell and try a Turtle. :)

I originally trained a sand-colored Turtle on the western shores of Borean Tundra to test the Talent Spec out, and once I knew I kinda liked the spiky little guy, I went to Dustwallow Marsh, where I tamed a very attractive Grey Turtle, the ones with a coral hue to their shell trim.

I leveled the pet up a little (can’t wait for the patch to remove THAT pain in the butt) and then went to the same Emerald Birdie, to test my new pet out.

My BM spec stayed the same, I just specced the Turtle into increased Dodge, Armor, Health and Growl to improve health and happiness.

I also shut off Cower.

I don’t run with Cower on my kitty, because I’m switching targets on the run ALL the time and don’t ever feel I need the damage reduction. Cower slows your pet down a LOT.

I wanted the test to be fair. In actual boss tanking, I would have Cower on auto for that 40% damage reduction for 6 seconds at a 45 second cooldown (costs no Focus), and I’d trigger Shell Shield to fire immediately after instead of overlapping. 

Anyway, my test on the Emerald Birdie.

I’d like to build it up to something impressive, but I can’t. It was no contest. My new buddy Koopa the Turtle was still at 100% full health when the Big Green Bird died. 

I’ve also gone and taken down a few of the magnataurs, the Scarlet Crusade Captain up on top of his watchtower, that sort of thing. No worries.

My next test is going to be Kreug. I’m looking forward to working out a way to handle those fears. :)

I’m pretty impressed. I messed around with a Bear pet back in the old days, but it seems to me there wasn’t such a sharp difference in performance back then.

Now, with the pet Talent trees, Shell Shield, all these customization choices, it’s pretty sweet.

What next? Dare I go into Karazhan and Molten Core for reals, me and Koopa?

If soloing with a Hunter Pet is your thing, can you tell me what kind of challenges at the 85 level you’ve had fun working out?

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Things are moving along nicely, my friends.

In the game, my Hunter is already level 74. Isn’t that crazy?

I have decided to set for myself a new goal. It’s a stupid goal, but it’s one that can’t be ground out, it’s pure luck; to forge a Legendary.

To that end, I’m going to solo Molten Core each week to shoot for either the Eye or the Bindings.

Considering how many times I ran that place in the old days without seeing any of them drop, ever, I’m not all that worried about not getting them.

It’s just fun to have that sense of “Maybe this time? Could be!”

I ran it on my Worgen Warrior this last weekend, and soloed everything in my blues and greens except for Ragnaros himself. Just couldn’t keep myself alive solo. I’m apparently a fail Warrior, I made it to the first submerge and the adds ate me. :(

I had to ask Matheo to step in and heal me… and he said I really am a fail tank, he ran outta mana keeping me alive.

I told him that the reason was probably that I wasn’t in defense stance or tank gear… I was pure Fury Warrior spec and gear. /facepalm.

On the plus side, in one run I almost got all the Cores and Dark Iron I need to craft Sulfuras, and I got the bar and bought the recipe to craft it. My Warrior is a Blacksmith, so it’s fun to think that, no matter who ever eventually gets an Eye, I’ll be able to craft the hammer for it. 

I really wanted to craft one for Fal back in the day, and if I ever do see the Eye, I’ll be thinking of him when it happens.

What kind of impossible or long term goals do you set for yourself? Do you find having some kind of big goal helps keep you interested?

Or do you prefer not having something planned that would be like an itch you couldn’t scratch? Do you like being able to shut the game off and walk away without ever caring that you didn’t finish X goal in your game life?

On the personal side, I don’t have any announcements or anything, but Cassie and I are working on improving and editing Converging Forces, bringing it out of the very rough cut state and turning it into a novel. It’s going to take some more time, but I’m really very pleased with how far we’ve gone already. I’m also learning a lot about writing in the process, Cassie is teaching me a great deal.

She worries that I’m going to get defensive when she shows me things I’m doing wrong in my writing, but the fact is, I’m loving it. It’s wonderful to have someone that I love and trust looking at the story, and telling me “This part is good, but this phrase is unclear, I don’t know what this word is, and what you do to apostrophes is an offense against God and nature. Stop it.”

Seriously, its very positive for me.

The first thing I hear that she tells me is, “This part is good.” I don’t ignore that to obsess about what’s wrong. 

I hear what she’s telling me, that I have things I need to correct to improve my writing. I may have lots of bad writing habits to break, but the core of a story is in there. The most important thing I want to start with is a story that is going in an interesting direction, and characters that you come to care about. I can learn how to fix the rest.

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As I continue leveling my Hunter on Azuremyst, it’s certainly giving me a perspective on the game I haven’t had before, or at least in a very long time.

My Hunter dinged level 60 last weekend, and with only a little messing with the Auction House, I had 1007 gold at the moment that little Achievement spam lit up.

That seemed pretty amazing to me, because I had that gold even after paying to learn all the recipes for Jewelcrafting and Mining up to the max levels you could reach before hitting 65.

More than that, though, was running and gunning through old Azeroth without a sugar daddy, or Heirlooms, or any other support except the emotional support I had from my new guildies.

That… and also the benefits of being in a high level guild.

I’ll touch on that again in a bit, but for now I wanted to say that once I hit Outlands, everything changed.

I do not like leveling in Outlands. Northrend will be bearable, but even so, too many alts too recently. Just, do not want.

I’ve reached the point where I have a system that has worked like clockwork to minimize my time in zones I hate.

I do 100% of Hellfire, which is usually good enough to reach level 63. I go to Zangarmarsh, and go directly to Orebor Harbor, where I do every quest that gives Kurenai rep. That should get me to Friendly, and once Friendly and 64 you can get a quest introducing you to the Kurenai in Nagrand. If I’m not quite 64 yet, I’ll go putz around in Terokkar Forest just long enough to ding, and then it’s back to get the Intro to Nagrand quest, and off to Nagrand.

From there, I milk Nagrand for all it’s worth. It’s the only zone in all of Outlands that I still like. In fact, I’ll find myself just hanging out there, tooling around and seeing the wonderful lush scenery.

Blizzard I think could benefit by taking a poll of players concerning our favorite zones… based not just on quest flow or story, but also on mood. On appearance. I’m sure I do NOT represent all or even most WoW players, but I much prefer playing in zones that feel comfortable and healthy. Zones that have a warm and inviting lighting scheme and a feeling of welcome.

Nagrand fits that bill, as does Un’goro Crater and Northern Stranglethorn. Even Duskwood, to a certain extent, is nice once in a while for that dark emo vibe. The wastelands and deserts and plague-ridden marshes, not so much. Again, that’s just me. I’m curious what the results of a poll like that would be.

Anyway, I hit Nagrand and take my time through it, and then it’s time for the tough choices. I’ve done Blades Edge, Netherstorm and Shadowmoon Valley too damn many times. No matter where I go, it’s gonna be a drag.

I think this time I might go to Shadowmoon as soon as I can, and see if I can grind a Drake. I haven’t done that on anyone except my Druid Main during the early days of BC. I haven’t walloped a peon with a Booterang in a long, long time.

Too long.

Getting back to my point, when I hit 60, everything changed.

I didn’t want to grind through Outlands or Northrend. So, I server transferred my 85 warrior over to Azuremyst. Along with him came… yeah, my Hunter Heirlooms. The shoulders, vest, bow, two daggers with Agi enchants, the works. That’s certainly sped things up.

I’m now level 65, and I’m in trouble, because Nagrand is starting to feel tiresome. If I lose my enthusiasm for Nagrand, that doesn’t bode well for any more alts in my future, yo.

Here’s the biggest strange change I’ve had in my playstyle, though.

The guild I’m in on Azuremyst, Band of Misfits, is a very large guild.

Like, large. They’ve got three 10-person raid teams on three different schedules. Some are more aggressive on the calendar than others, but all of them are very successful. The guild is a hair’s breadth away from dinging the last boss kill they need to get the Cata Raiding mount.

They’re also guild level 21. They might even be 22 by now, I was pretty sick last night.

I… I feel strange being in such a high level guild.

On the one hand, the rewards, even if you’re only Neutral on a level 1, are very helpful to you.

If you’re dead, your spirit moves it’s ass. That’s very nice. You’re hearth has a 15 minute cooldown. That’s pretty sweet. You get a bonus 10% XP gain, which I might have liked to have been able to turn off in the old Azeroth world, but that I’m loving now.

Even more… you get +10% to Reputation gains.

Therin probably lies the secret behind my relatively painless Exalted with both Stormwind and Darnassus.

Potentially cooler, if I get in a party somewhere with another guildie, we could summon each other to where we are. I haven’t tested it, maybe there are level limits preventing a guildie in Northrend from joining group with me and summoning my level 65 butt there, but hey… that’s still pretty cool. It’s not just for raiding.

So, lots of nice rewards just for being in the guild and leveling, right?

The thing is, I haven’t done anything to deserve any of these benefits. I still haven’t played with anyone in the guild, I’ve been leveling solo. Sure, someday I will, but not yet. And if I were to leave the guild before I reach 85 and run with them, I’ll have gotten something for nothing.

On the surface, it seems like a strange system.

It does make sense, of course. The benefits help a low level character level up faster, gain rep for rewards needed for raiding faster, and move where needed quicker so as to get in the groove with the other, long established guild members.

The neat stuff that doesn’t actually work to get you into the upper levels faster or help in raids like a quick run speed while dead, things like pets and mounts, require rep with the guild.

What it leaves me wondering, though, are two things.

First, if it’s divided amongst what gets you to the raiding level, and what is a fine but essentially useless perk, then why do the guild-only Heirlooms require guild rep? By the time my Hunter will be able to buy them, she won’t need them. Maybe they’re specifically for your alts in the guild, and alts only. But then why the built-in 10% XP bonus available without guild rep? It’s just wierd. But that’s cool, I can’t afford them anyway, I gotta save for fast flight.

The second thing is, it really does feel as if it’s been solidly thought out for raiding guilds to advance… but for leveling guilds, and friend and family guilds, I can’t really see why the system chokes the guild rep gain so badly based on level. 

I know intellectually that Blizzard has had comments published before, stating that the point is to be part of a large community. To be in big guilds, to take part in what makes the game “Massive”.

I get that.

I also know that there are plenty of folks that don’t WANT that.

What WoW has excelled at, for me, is being a cooperative game.

Sure, I’ve felt a huge thrill at big raids, at the Massive element. I still remember with fondness 40 person raids on Onyxia and Molten Core. Raids so big, in such an early age of the game, that it was nearly impossible to tell who was doing what, or in some cases… who to blame for that massive screw up that wiped the raid.

Moar dots? Whelps? Many whelps? DEAL WITH IT!

But to counterbalance that feeling is the more frequent pleasure of having a game world that you can play in cooperatively, just you and a few friends, or with the significant other in your life.

When you think of WoW, is your mental picture of the game about something that you play with huge gobs of people, is it a solo experience in a huge world, or is it a cooperative game?

For me, when I think of it, the draw has never been to play with gobs of people (gob = new word of the day. It pays to enrich your goofy word power.) It’s been to have a deep, rich, engaging game world to explore cooperatively with my friends and significant other.

Some programs Blizzard has implemented has seemed to reflect an understanding of that. Recruit-a-friend, for example. Come to glorious Azeroth, and bring a friend to play with you!

As much as I like the guild leveling concept, and the rewards are neat, and all that… it makes me sad to feel that the people who play the game in a purely cooperative way with a limited number of friends, friends who may have limited playtime, will never get the chance to experience those rewards.

Guild Levels have been out for a while. I imagine most folks have already made their decision. They’ve chosen to either stay with their small guild and accept no rewards because they don’t raid or play enough, or split and join a larger guild.

I don’t feel that I’ve made that decision, myself. I’ve still got my main characters in our small guild, just Cassie and I. These are new characters in a new land, and I’m doing what Blizzard seemed to want; meeting new people, developing new friendships. All that good stuff.

I’ve never been opposed to meeting new people, making new friends, or being part of a large group. It’s been a lot of fun. Blackbear the Warrior (no, really, I’m serious), Matheo, Hedwig and Crosshair all seem like really nice folks, and I’ve been getting to know some others as well.

I just think it’s unfortunate that when making your decision, it comes down to saying, “You don’t HAVE to join a big guild… but then again, we don’t HAVE to give smaller guilds any benefits, either.”

If this seems particularly unreadable… I am sicker than hell at the moment. It feels like my head is going to explode. And I’m holding crisis at work together as I write this in spurts, so I can’t just leave. I apologize for the blargh.

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I’ve been having just the most incredibly fun time on Azuremyst with my new alts.

Wait, how is that possible? I’ve been playing WoW for years and years and years. How can it still be fun? No, scratch that, how could it possibly be awesome?

Haven’t I heard? All the cool kids are sneering at WoW and going off to play other games that are newer and cooler and better and stuffs!

I had heard a bit of that going around, but I do strongly believe that attitude matters. If you walk around looking for an excuse to feel pissed off, seems to me it doesn’t take long to accomplish that goal.

I’ve never been what you could call pissed off at WoW. I’ve just been adrift, trying to find my center. My happy thought.

I can’t fly if I don’t have my happy thought, damn it.

Well, I’m flying now, baby. Figuratively.

The first thing I’m finding is that I really missed the challenge of being broke. Of being on my own without a big sugar daddy supporting my low level adventures.

I made a Death Knight on Azuremyst, but I got so into my Druid that I never leveled him to 60 to get flying. Just having too much fun, you know? I’m sure glad I didn’t now!

Having only the money that I make myself on low level characters by playing the auction house and gathering has added a degree of challenge that has been long missing, and I’m loving it.

Selling that stack of copper ore for 19 gold 24 silver really feels like I scored! It’s the little things.

The second thing I’m loving is I finally have a clear set of goals.

On my normal server, I’ve got 10 characters, and half the time when I log in, I’d be staring at the list, trying to figure out who to play. Too many characters, too many levels, too much damn history.

On Azuremyst, I’ve got a Fury Warrior that I retired as being too bloody easy to level (sorry, but he is), I’ve got my Feral Druid that is just a gas, and I’ve got this up and coming Hunter that I’m really rocking the place with.

Two characters I’m enjoying… and almost as though it’s a second chance to play the game for the very first time, I’m playing them… but I’m doing it up right this time.

My Druid was the first one to go down the road of “Hey, why don’t I…”.

They added this new (to me) kitty mount to Darnassus Rep a while back; the Striped Dawnsaber. I love that mount. I’ve lusted after it for a low level character ever since Cassie bought one for her Night Elf Druid when we started playing Mage/Druid together.

I never had a chance at that mount for any of MY Night Elf characters when leveling. By the time it was added, my Hunter had the Mammoth and my Druid had the chicken mount from Sethekk Halls.

Now, I can finally have that chance. Even better, mounts scale with your Riding skill, so I can have that land mount I love, and keep using it all the way to 85!

Adding to the fun, neither my Druid nor my Hunter are Night Elves. To get that mount… I need to get my Darnassus rep to Exalted. So if I really want that mount early enough to be fun… I gotta work for it.

What’s that, a challenge? Well, aw shucks.

Having that goal made the game even more interesting for the last week. After all, I have to find two different ways to get that rep, or I’ll burn out doing the same zone quests twice in a row.

I’ve almost nailed that challenge on BOTH.

What I did was, I went back to Teldrassil on my Worgen Druid, and played through all of the quests. I’m in the early stages of Ashenvale, and I’m already halfway through Revered with Darnassus. No problem.

Once I got to that point and knew that my Druid was right in the bullseye, I switched over to my Hunter.

My Human Hunter, having the advantage of Human rep bonuses, didn’t go to Teldrassil right away. Instead, after I got the Darnassus tabard, I started doing Stormwind related zones to get my Stormwind rep to Exalted.

I kept at it until I hit Exalted with Stormwind doing quests… and along the way, the shared rep with the Alliance factions got me 1 point away from Honored with everyone else. I also ran some random instances in PUGs, getting rep from the tabard.

By the time I entered Teldrassil on my Hunter, I was well on my way to Revered, and this evening I had barely set foot in Ashenvale when I dinged Exalted. I got it on my third quest in the zone.

Isn’t she pretty?

I really love the looks of that kitty.

Having this extra challenge I set for myself has really been great. It’s been so exciting to see what it would take to get there, without ruining the quests my Druid is doing.

Speaking of kitties, there was that other thing about my Hunter…

Cassie came through. Well, of course she did.

After one hellaciously long run at level 16 through Stranglethorn getting flight points along the way to Booty Bay and the boat to Ratchet, I made my way over land to that infamous den of mindless PvP, Crossroads.

There, Cassie summoned me a pet that I’ve been proud to have by my side ever since.

Say hello to… Moonshine. :)

It feels very rewarding to play the game this way. I’m not just questing through the zones, I’m using my knowledge of the game, of the zones, of how reputation works, of what rewards are available and what pets are where, to do what I would have loved to do when I first started playing the game years and years ago.

I have a level 31 Human Hunter riding a Darnassus cat with Echeyakee for a pet. It doesn’t get more gigglicious than that.

Yes, that’s a word now. Shush.

What I’m really looking forward to now are the quest zones I have yet to see.

My Hunter and Druid are both poised to quest in zones I’ve never set foot in since the Cataclysm.

Mu Hunter is heading to Hinterlands, and will do the Hinterlands – Western Plaguelands – Eastern Plaguelands – Badlands sequence. I understand that Badlands, in particular, rocks.

My Druid is going to finish out Ashenvale and move further on down Kalimdor, seeing how the land was sundered. I hope there is lots of fun for Alliance to have in Thousand Needles. South Barrens looks crazy!

Honestly, it’s a brave new world. I’ve limited my character options, removed the safety net of lots of max level characters, no longer have Cassie there to “run me through” something on her main if I just want to knock out a quick instance for quests, and have to earn every silver piece I get, for a given WoW value of “earn”.

It’s just like playing a brand new game… fresh and exciting. Except I, like… already know all the secrets and tricks and where everything can be found, and where resources are on the web.

As a side note, and I know this will seem very sudden to some people, but I can no longer be found in the guild Eff the Ineffable.

The folks there are wonderful folks who went out of their way to try and make me feel right at home, and I am very grateful to them for the invitation that brought me out of my Kael’thas shell to try something new. Please don’t believe that I have anything aganst them in any way. I don’t.

But a guild has to be a good fit for both the guild and the people in it, and while the people are great, their goals and mine within the game just aren’t the same.

I hadn’t realized going into it that they had formed the guild as a new place to make a solid go of raiding, and that there had been a lot of worry and sadness recently over what to do to get a guild of people focused on raiding. They are working very hard to get everything right, and from everything I’ve seen a re doing great.

I had been invited by nice folks I knew through Twitter, and I was very glad to go and spend time with friendly people, but in the end, the fact is I’m not a raider. That’s not my focus in the game. It’s not where my cheese is to be found.

I had lots of fun lurking in the guild chat channel… but I wasn’t a contributor to the success of the guild, and I knew that I never would be. I’d be that guy that dings 85, and then moves on to a new alt. Just when I could finally start pulling my weight in the guild and help them do what they want to be doing, I’d be moving on to another alt.  

I know that I could have stayed and been very welcome, and I’m sure nobody would have ever said anything to me about it… but I have to feel that if I am part of something, I am actually a contributing part of it. I have to feel I’m pulling my weight. 

It just wasn’t going to happen. That was, honestly, the single biggest reason I knew it wasn’t going to work out. I’d been thinking about it all week. I did have some minor issues with one person earlier in the day, but it had nothing whatsoever to do with my decision to leave. I’d been thinking about what I should do from the moment I read up about the guild and how it was formed, and realized they were a raiding guild, and meant it.

So, I said my goodbyes and left.

I’ve got some other friends on the server, I’ve been around long enough that I think I know someone on darn near every server in the US at this point. Hedwig and Matheo have invited me to hang out with Band of Misfits, a more casually-oriented guild on the server. They still raid, a LOT, word is they’ve got three raiding teams, and do so very well from what I understand… but from everything I’ve been told, it’s very casual friendly. I’ll be able to contribute to the guild by running light content in 5 person instances, and questing together with folks, or by being an occasional fill-in if someone needs a hand. That’s something I think I can handle. Plus, I won’t have that feeling that if I’m not raiding and helping the guild push through new content, that I’m not doing my part.

There are a lot of very, very nice people in Eff the Ineffable. They’re going to be pretty big stars on the raiding scene, because they have everything they need; a great GM, wonderful guild members, a mature, adult attitude and a determination to succeed. If raiding with good people is what you’re looking for, people who will actually come prepared, looking to succeed or get a punch to the crotch, then Effs’ the guild for you.

I owe the people of Eff the Ineffable a huge debt of gratitude. I may not be a raider at heart, but they brought me in and put me in a situation where I was able to rediscover all the things I love about WoW, and get my gaming groove back on.

When I get home from work now, I’m really looking forward to what I’m going to do when I log in. I’m thinking of the challenges ahead, and of what kind of neat stuff I can get up to in the world of Azeroth. That’s something that was missing for a while, and I knew I had to get an attitude adjustment to find it. I’m glad I’m back in the game.

If you’ve read this far, thank you all very much for your patience, and have a great week.

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